Aftercare: The What, The How, and The Why

Written by Handson

Aftercare is as important as a play itself.  I have even written aftercare into contracts before, because inadequate aftercare can have detrimental consequences for the bottom.  Aftercare should form part of the play negotiations.  Both top and bottom should know what is expected of each other with special care taken where the play will be a new experience.

Aftercare is as varied as the different types of play that there are.  The different types of play may also create needs for different types of aftercare routines.  In other words, there is no ‘one size fits all’ aftercare routine and only through experience, as with most things, do you begin to have a feel and understanding of what might be needed by individuals.  Even then, you still run the chance of getting it wrong.

When we play, both top and bottom have a change in brain chemistry.  I will focus on the bottom for this article though because aftercare, generally speaking, is required more by them.  Without going into all the detail, the chemical change within the brain creates a state of euphoria and accompanying that is an extreme vulnerability.  That vulnerability must be managed correctly, or the bottom’s experience will become one of negativity and trauma.  Yes, trauma; it is that serious and that important.

Whilst every bottom is different and as I mentioned, aftercare should form part of the pre-play negotiations, from my experience I have found the following to be useful:

  • Reassurance during the play – saying something like ‘you’re doing really well’, or ‘I really like the way you’re responding to what I’m doing’.
  • Reassurance immediately after the play – saying things like ‘you did so well’, or ‘I’m so proud of you’.
  • Depending on the intensity of the play, the bottom’s risk of shock is greatly increased.  Provide them with a sweet (sugar not sweetener) drink.  Have a high sugar snack (chocolate bar) on standby too.
  • Make sure they are warm. 
  • Provide them with hugs and caresses. (This is not for everyone so don’t be offended if you’re pushed away)
  • Stay in direct contact with them until they no longer seem vulnerable.  I recommend providing an additional 50% of the time spent playing to the immediate aftercare.
  • Daily check-in for the next few days.  Give reassurance remembering that the bottom is likely to have feelings of insecurity and vulnerability.
  • Make sure the bottom has positive ways for dealing with a ‘sub-drop’.

With the combination of biology and chemistry being so difficult to grasp; and individuals being so different from person to person; aftercare can never be an exact science.  The most important part is acknowledging the bottom’s vulnerability and allowing them to feel and process the emotions that the play has invoked. This after all, is one of the beautiful parts of BDSM, feeling and experiencing without judgement.

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